First Time Laggering, First time making a Marzen
Is only my 3rd time with a partial mash, and both of those oatmeal stouts turned out great!
The bit I'm concerned about is the lagering, as I've only done ales to this point.
I'm using the Imperial Octoberfest/Marzen from Austin.
My fermentation room is under my porch, solid concrete room and in Michigan right now it's consistently under 30 over night. My brew room is at a stable 55 degrees. I do have a fridge i could make room in should i need longer at the lower temp but am looking for a good idea on how to do the actual laggering.
I'm planning for this weekend to brew it up, I have a counter flow chiller so getting the wort to 55 won't be an issue with the temp of my tap water right now. I figure i'll have the brew room at 55 for another month and a half, come June I'll have potentially in the 70's.
I thought i'd be okay with maybe 2 months at 55 then bottle it some time in july or so if the temp get's weird on me.
Any suggestions? pointers to a better explenation of laggering?
I'm no expert, but I thought the initial fermentation temp should be 55-65. The lagering temp should be 35-45. Not sure if 55 will be too high.
Lagering is basically an extended period to let the yeast clean up after themselves and all the sediment to drop to the bottom so you get a flavorful beer and nice and clear.
55 ambient is above where you want to be in the initial phase of your lager. Ideally, you want to be at 50-52 fermentation temp for the first few weeks. Wait until you are approaching your FG (typically 2.5-3 weeks for me), then do a diacetyl rest for 2 days, then begin lagering. Under 30 degrees is too cold I believe. I typically lager a week for every 10 gravity points in the OG in the temp range of 35-38F.
I am doing my first lager in my basement right now. You can do a DIY swamp cooler or temp control to an old fridge.
I have one of those large metal ice bucket party-bath containers.
I simply put a trash bag in it then an hour before I was done I put a bag of ice in the bucket (in the bag and just poked holes in it)
The bucket was at 49 by the time put the carboy in it, went down to 46 as the ice melted and formed a bottom inch of water...now its back to 51 and I just put a frozen water bottle in it each day.
Again, this is by no means the best system but it works and its cheap
EDIT- this is for fermenting, I got my bro's old college fridge for actually doing a lager, but you could keep adding ice to the bath each day to keep it around 40 if its in a 55 degree basement
So, I guess I got this backwards. In short what I want to do is:
Start fermenting at the temp reccomended by the yeast strain I'm using. Watch the gravity as fermentation slows, when it starts to stablize I should sample it to make sure the diacetyl flavor(buttery) isn't there because stable gravity doesn't mean the yeast has finished it's thing yet.
Then put the carboy in my fridge at around 40 f for another couple months.
Do I want to rack it after the diacetyl rest has done it's thing before I put it into the fridge?
I have a feeling that if this goes smooth, I'm going to be investing in a small chest freezer.
Thanks for the help! I love how helpfull this community is!
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